GTS: serving top-flight fried chicken

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently visited Grand Trunk Saloon for their fried chicken, after having enjoyed it over the course of a couple of years and having written about it: I’m happy to report it is still in the top three fried chicken plates in Waterloo Region.

Of course, the other reason(s) you visit The Saloon is for some of the most amazing cocktails anywhere around.

Matt Hewson is often behind the bar (the bar stools for which are out of service for customer and staff pandemic safety) creating a lot of interesting and inventive drinks.

GTS is open Tuesday to Saturday for dining-room service starting at 4 p.m. Take-out is also popular and they are working on setting up a patio, so look for that soon.


The Grand Trunk Saloon
30 Ontario Street South,
Kitchener, ON N2G 1X2
(519) 578-8282

[Previously posted] Among its other features that run during the course of the week, downtown Kitchener’s Grand Trunk Saloon serves a 10-piece “Bucket-O-Chicken” ($20) Tuesday special (with a drink purchase) that is a simply delicious dish for two to share along with a cold beer.  

The idea of fried chicken conjures up pop-culture images of waxed paper buckets, a special blend of spices, Grecian bread (whatever that is) and neon-green coleslaw in Styrofoam cups. And yet, it’s hard to imagine really bad fried chicken – mediocre fried chicken yes, bad no. 

The fact is that deep frying is a cooking technique made for chicken — and it has probably been so for eternity, or at least since the chicken was first cooked up in ancient China.

What else? Well, grab a cocktail to start off your visit, or a beer, and make sure you savour the house-made pickles and coleslaw as a fresh, briny and acidic accompaniment.

The complete immersion of the protein into the fat results in high heat coming in quick contact with the food.

While water boils at 212-degrees F., deep frying a dense piece of meat takes place at 350-degrees F. With such heat enveloping the chicken, exterior moisture evaporates rapidly which leaves the surface brown and crisp and, properly timed, the interior moist, tender and hot. 

Grand Trunk Saloon’s fried chicken is skinless, boneless chicken thighs – there is much, much more flavour in the dark thigh meat than there is in the breast meat.

And time is a critical ingredient too.

The chicken is brined and seasoned in a combination of black tea, spices and herbs for quite a while, about 12 to 18 hours before it goes into a buttermilk marinade for two to four hours before dredging and frying.  

Matt Hewson and GTS create amazing cocktails (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

What else? Well, grab a cocktail to start off your visit, or a beer, and make sure you savour the house-made pickles and coleslaw as fresh, briny and acidic accompaniments.

The other must-have components of the dish are the home-made smoked cherry-bomb hot sauce and the equally well-balanced Habanero cane syrup.

They both make great chicken even better.

Leave a Comment

Follow by Email